Brian Rice hopeful new shape can help Hamilton turn the corner
Hamilton head coach Brian Rice hopes a tactical switch can quickly produce results after coming close against Dundee United.
Accies suffered a fifth consecutive defeat on Saturday – not counting the Betfred Cup tie that Albion Rovers forfeited. But only a Ross Callachan penalty miss denied them a point at Tannadice.
Callachan had headed Accies in front in the second half but Nicky Clark netted two goals in four minutes before the Hamilton midfielder skied a spot-kick as the hosts earned a 2-1 Scottish Premiership win.
Hamilton had followed an 8-0 thrashing at the hands of Rangers with Betfred Cup defeat by Stranraer and Rice opted to pick defender Hakeem Odoffin in central midfield ahead of a back five.
The Accies boss noted his side were “organised, hard to beat, difficult to break down” and was pleased with Odoffin’s display in the role vacated by Alex Gogic following his summer move to Hibernian.
“I had to do something different so I decided to go for a shape and I worked at it for the last seven to eight days,” Rice told Accies TV.
“We have missed Alex Gogic in there, there is no doubt about. I have tried to find someone in his mould and it’s really difficult with finances.
“I thought Hak was the nearest thing we had to Alex and I decided to throw him in there. And great credit to him, he went in there and did a fantastic job.
“As did every lad. Everyone is so down because we know we should have got something out that game.”
The bottom team have no time to mope as they host Aberdeen on Wednesday.
“We need to build on this,” Rice said. “We worked really, really hard to get ourselves in front and played fantastically well, and a couple of little slips and we ended up taking nothing out the game, which is a travesty.”
While Rice did not make a change until Brian Easton limped off in the 89th minute, United boss Micky Mellon had made four before the midway point in the second half.
Mellon was delighted to see his squad utilised with Jamie Robson coming on in a change of shape which helped United get back into the game.
“The subs have come on and helped us carry it forward,” said Mellon, who also brought on Lawrence Shankland, Luke Bolton and Jeando Fuchs.
“There’s a lot of football still to be played and it’s pleasing when the lads come on and put that shift in to help us get a valuable result.
“We have players there that are here to play for Dundee United, they all have qualities and strengths that when we think we need to play a certain way, we will play them in an area of the pitch that allows us to get a foothold in the game or an advantage in the game.
“The boys that came in were able to do that fantastically for us.”